I confess that I often envy some of my pastoral colleagues for their ministries. And who hasn't seen one or more of the television evangelist and wondered how they are receiving so many "blessings" and taking in large sums of money. Our egos desire to do "great things" for God and we often become frustrated at what we perceive as living a mediocre Christian life. We may even question if God really cares about our every day routines. Recently the Lord reminded me that there is no hierarchy of gifts or service in the kingdom of God. The passage that spoke to me was Matthew 25:31-46. You may recognize this familiar passage about the separation of the sheep from the goats when Christ returns. In the story, the Lord praises the sheep for the way they served the lowliest of God's people often unaware of their deeds. On the other hand the goats are chastised for not serving this same group of people. What stood out to me was the type of service the sheep rendered to God's people. Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matthew 25:35-36) Notice Jesus commended them not for great and glorious acts or accumulation of wealth or even popularity but rather the sheep were commended for providing the most basic necessities of life. What some might consider unimportant or insignificant deeds. Satisfying hunger, thirst, and providing clothing and shelter are the basic needs of every human being. However the list goes on to include relationships such as looking after the sick and visiting the prisoner. And on a relationship scale of 0-9, sick people and prisoners aren't at the top of most folks visitation list. Many would rather be rubbing shoulders with the "important people" the so-called "movers and shakers." Perhaps this is where the goats were investing their time and energy as Jesus reminded them that, "Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for Me." (Matthew 25:45) In my last post I spoke of the young man who I visited in the hospital fighting for his life. The family did not know me but were very appreciative that I would come and anoint their son with oil and pray for him. These are the "little things" that are just as important to Christ as some event that gets the attention of large crowds. For the Lord said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me." (Matthew 25:40) It doesn't get any more awesome that that! So, I encourage you the next time you feel that you are not really "serving" the Lord, remember Christ Himself was not born into greatness nor focused His attention on the most highly respected in the culture of His day. The Master hand picked you to serve Him. "For you did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit---fruit that will last." (John 15:16a) That "fruit" comes in many forms of service and each piece is sweet service to the King!
Peace In Christ,